Join an online community with more than 350,000 members from 150,000+ organizations, where you can ask questions and get advice.
TechSoup hosts free weekly webinars on a variety of topics, from cloud computing to fundraising to social media and tech strategy.
Need help downloading or using your donations? You'll find essential resources on these topics and more in our support pages.
Close this window
Here's an interesting post by Jeff Atwood about solid-state hard drives (thanks David!). SSDs have been around in various forms for a long time, but only in recent years have manufacturers started seriously marketing them to consumers as an alternative to traditional hard drives. In early 2008, both Apple and Dell started shipping high-end laptops with SSDs only; others have followed suit since then. As Kevin points out in Should You Upgrade to Windows 7?, Windows 7 improves performance for solid-state drives markedly over XP and Vista.
A drive with no moving parts should be faster, more energy efficient, and less susceptible to failure, right? In theory, yes, but the reality might be more complicated. From Atwood's article:
I was an early solid state (SSD) drive adopter with my last laptop purchase, and it was a profound disappointment. Those first and second generation SSD drives turned out to be slower than their magnetic equivalents, despite the eager promises of vendors. On top of that, they were incredibly expensive, and of limited capacity. Running Windows Vista on an early 32 gigabyte SSD was an exercise in pain and frustration on so many levels. What's not to love? A lot.
Reviews of Apple's early models were more positive, though it wasn't the radical improvement in performance that some were hoping for.
But things are improving. Atwood points to a glowing review Linus Torvald wrote about a year ago of Intel's model. At that time, prices were still prohibitive, but they're on the way down (and the drives are getting bigger). Atwood recommends the Crucial SSD as a more affordable model that still performs well.
Photo: Hong Chang Bum, CC license
Is solid state ready for primetime? Have you tried replacing your hard drive with an SSD? Share your experience in this Hardware forum discussion.
Staff Writer, TechSoup